I’m taking advantage of today’s palindromic date (01022010, which is kinda nifty) to send a brief message with warm wishes for the new year to all of the members of the MediaCommons community.
2009 was an exciting year for us — we launched our user profile system, which we hope to develop into a research-oriented social network bringing together scholars across media studies related fields, and we launched MediaCommons Press with the open peer review of my own book project, Planned Obsolescence. We’ve got more exciting projects forthcoming in 2010, so we hope you’ll get involved.
Here are some brief notes about adding publications to the MediaCommons publications database and having them appear on your profile.
1. There are two ways to add a publication. Both are in the submenu that appears when you click “Edit” while viewing your profile. You can either import XML or tab-delimited files in formats like Bibtex (“Import”), or you can enter information manually (“Form”).
2. If it is your first time loading publications, you may need to take an additional step and link your author record to your profile. Author records can be found here: ... read more »
Over the last several years, as we’ve worked to establish MediaCommons as a new kind of publisher for scholars in media studies, we’ve been very conscious that what we’ve been building is not, or at least not wholly, a new form of scholarly press. There are good reasons to build such new kinds of presses; the publishers that have served the academy in recent decades find themselves in grave fiscal danger in the current economy, and at least in part due to that danger, they haven’t been able to take on the kinds of experimentation that new fields such as media studies require. The academy desperately needs new forms of publishers, and new publishing models, in order to ensure the ongoing ability of scholars to communicate their research with one another, and in order to ensure the ability of our scholars to access the artifacts produced by that communication.
But we’re also aware that, in the age of digital social networks, we have to varying extents become our own publishers; we blog, we text, we tweet, and in so doing we communicate with one another through an increasing variety of channels, and with an increasing immediacy and ubiquity. Given this proliferation, what we need as scholars may be less a system that will manage our communication for us than a system that will allow us to manage our communication, a system than recognizes that the key aspect of scholarly communication into the future may be less the distribution of the products of our research than the management of the social networks through which our research is distributed. ... read more »
Today I have the pleasure of unveiling MediaCommons Press, a project we’ve been working toward for several months now. MediaCommons Press is the second major project hosted by MediaCommons, and it is dedicated, as the header has it, to open scholarship in open formats. MediaCommons Press hopes to promote the digital publication and discussion of texts ranging from article- to monograph-length, in forms ranging from the traditional to the experimental, serving all areas of scholarship in media studies.
Today’s also the day that I put my money where my mouth is, in more senses than one: I’m serving as the test case for MediaCommons Press by releasing, as our first major publication, the book that I’ve been working on for the last year and a half. Planned Obsolescence: Publishing, Technology, and the Future of the Academy will, if all goes according to plan, come out in print sometime next year from NYU Press, but it’s available online right now, for open review.
And that’s the second way I’m putting my money where my mouth is. One of the key arguments that I make in the book is that the peer review of digital texts must be an open, conversational process, one that draws on the wisdom of a far greater number of readers than the usual two or three anonymous reviewers, one that focuses on discussion among the reviewers, and between the reviewers and the author, and one that allows the multiplicity of responses to a text to become part of the text itself.
I hope you’ll come by and join the discussion. And I also hope you’ll consider joining in by publishing with us. MediaCommons has developed into a thriving community network in media studies; we’re excited to take the first steps today in transforming that network into a viable, community-based scholarly publishing system.
As is being discussed a good bit around the academic blogo-/twittersphere this morning, Jennifer Howard reports in today’s Chronicle of Higher Education on a new report soon to be released by a committee organized by the National Humanities Alliance, entitled “The Future of Scholarly Journals Publishing Among Social Science and Humanities Associations.” This report seems to have a couple of compelling findings: first, that the per-article cost of journal publishing in the humanities and social sciences is more than three times as much as in the science, technical, and medical (a.k.a. STM) fields, and second, that this increased cost is due in no small part to the increased selectivity of those journals. ... read more »